The imposing blast furnace, 10 meters tall, known as Františka dominates the Old Ironworks site at Adamov in the Krtinský potok valley. It replaced the older blast furnace built in 1632 in Adamov. After around a hundred years the Liechtensteins moved it from the Adamov ironworks to the Josefov valley where it stands today.
There were refining furnaces, a hammer mill for tools, auxiliary operations and residential buildings in Adamov. Pig iron was transformed into a malleable material in the refining furnaces. In the hammer mill, the iron was further processed to produce intermediate or final products.
In the first half of the 19th century, the owners had the blast furnace modernized, and they built a blown air preheater. They also had the so-called Kamenak building constructed next to the furnace, a modeling area where wooden models of products were produced for shaping and subsequent casting in the now-gone foundry.
In 1852, the owners had a pair of furnaces built for burning lime, attached to a loading ramp.
Charcoal was used to produce pig iron in the Františka blast furnace. Over time, the raw material needed for its production became less available. Rival businesses which used coke instead of charcoal were able to sell material at half the price. Further economic developments in the second half of the 19th century, when a general economic crisis broke out, forced the owner to put the Josefov blast furnace out of use (1872). Five years later, Františka production ended completely.
The structure became dilapidated while the Adamov part of the plant, transformed into an engineering works, that continued to operate. The first repairs in the Old Ironworks began in the 1960s, and in 1972 management was transferred to the Technical Museum in Brno.
The remains of this metalworking site known as the Old Ironworks near Adamov today contains the mentioned Frantiska blast furnace, as well as loading ramps, two furnaces for lime burning and a former modelling building called Kamenak. This building contains an exhibition on iron processing in the central part of the Moravian Karst region. The complex of building also includes the now privately owned building known as Svycarna, today an environmental centre, and residential buildings.
The site serves as one of the starting points in an educational trail known as the Moravian Karst Iron Trail, which is part of the European Cultural Heritage program through its membership of the Central European Iron Trail network. The Old Ironworks near Adamov was declared a National Cultural Monument in 2014.
Various events take place over the course of the year at the Old Ironworks near Adamov national cultural monument. One of the largest for old and young alike is May’s Setkani ve stredni casti Moravskeho krasu (Gathering in Central Moravian Karst). Roughly a week in advance of the event, charcoal kilns are constructed, with charcoal produced. This is followed by experimental smelting in reconstructed mediaeval iron furnaces.
For more information about the South Moravian region, from which this museum comes, click here and here.